How to Become a Paramedic in Alberta|10 Best Steps

How to Become a Paramedic in Alberta
How to Become a Paramedic in Alberta

Want to know how to become a paramedic in Alberta? Then, you need to get every detail in this article. A paramedic is a healthcare professional, who specializes in providing advanced emergency health care services, for critical and emergent patients whose cases demand urgent medical attention.

They are not doctors or physicians, however, they specialize in giving emergency treatment. They work side by side with doctors, not necessarily physically, and they also provide life-saving treatments during the absences of a doctor.

Often mistaken as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), they are not, though many EMTs eventually become a paramedic, EMTs are medical professionals whose duty is to transport and stabilize patients who call for emergency care.

They can use basic ambulance equipment though with few exceptions. They are not generally allowed to give treatments that break the skin.

Paramedics undergo more training, which makes them capable of providing advanced medical care and can use both basic and advanced ambulance equipment.

The work of a paramedic is primarily within emergency rooms and ambulances, where people with urgent medical needs are taken care of.

If You are wondering what it takes to become a paramedic, then read through, as I guide you through the best 10 steps on how to become a paramedic in Alberta. 

Best Steps on How to Become a Paramedic in Alberta

  1. Obtain your education
  2. Enroll in a Paramedic Diploma Program
  3. Graduate with a Paramedic Diploma
  4. Complete an internship
  5. Pass the Certification Exam
  6. Pass entry exam
  7. Pass PCP and ACP provincial exam
  8. Apply to Work as a Paramedic
  9. Pass Pre-Employment Testing
  10. Continue to improve on yourself 

Below are the details for each of the steps on how to become a paramedic in Alberta.

1. Obtain your education

The first step on our list of steps on how to become a paramedic in Alberta is obtaining your high school diploma.

Obtaining a diploma is usually the first step one must take, in order to pursue a particular career line. For one pursuing a career in paramedic, you may consider completing courses in biology, physiology, and anatomy including any other health-related course. 

On successful completion of your high school diploma, you can now be eligible to enroll in an accredited paramedic program.

This program has a duration range of two to three years of full-time study, depending on the program, and accredited institutions from which you are obtaining your paramedic training. 

Some colleges require a standard first-aid and CPR certification prior to applying for a program. 

2. Enroll in a Paramedic Diploma Program

After the completion of your high school diploma program, you will need to further enroll In a paramedic diploma program from an accredited institution.

These programs are offered both by private career colleges and public colleges as well throughout the province.

Choosing a college to obtain your paramedic program is a very crucial decision to take, as such care must be taken during research in order to determine the best college options available. In order to choose the right college option for you, factors such as college location, its tuition fee, the college’s reputation, and whether it is accredited or not should be considered most important.

You can take a tour around the college, to see things for yourself before eventually settling for one. It’s a good practice to seek out guidance from past, and present students from the college before deciding.

Once you’ve concluded a decision, you can go ahead to submit an application, and hope to get a favorable response.  

3. Graduate with a Paramedic Diploma

Being admitted into a paramedic diploma program, is a step closer towards achieving your goals of becoming a paramedic, however you must pass out of the programme successfully, before you can be recognised as a graduate of paramedic.

Some of the college’s courses are a mixture of both theoretical and practical experience. Programme content varies across different colleges, however, getting specific information about a program content isn’t that difficult.

You can send out an inquiry mail, with indication of your choice programme. On a general scale, student paramedic offer a variety of courses such as psychology , pathophysiology, anatomy, pharmacology, including first aid, and other skills such as Emergency Trauma patients care and emergency patients care among others.

This is geared towards preparing them, for the tasks paramedics often face during their day to day activities. 

4. Complete an internship

After graduation from paramedic studies, it is advised you take up internship opportunities in paramedic. There are several internships out there, for paramedic graduates to acquire more knowledge.

Internships are very essential, as they provide students with transferable skills within their professional career, as well as practical knowledge on paramedics operations.

Interns also get certified on completion of their internship programme.

Many hospitals arrange internships programmes, for students paramedics during the course of their studies, while others offer internship programmes for graduates paramedics. 

5.  Pass the Certification Exam

On successful graduation from college, students graduate would be required to apply for and pass an Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant (A-EMCA) certification exam. 

This certificate exam comprises several multiple-choice questions,  which are based on real life ambulance scenarios.

Questions range from ambulance scene to infection control and down to vehicle operations.  The examination body awards a certificate for a minimum pass mark of 70 percent, on three attempts. 

A remedial training is suggested to students on events of three times failure, however if you study hard, you should have nothing to worry about, as the exams are quite simple to easy. 

6. Pass entry exam

Entrance exam for paramedics students differs depending on your location. Students paramedics in Alberta completes the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) Exam in order to practice.

This exam is often preferred by students who intend to work in region, where paramedics and first responders work separately.

Completing EMR exam permits paramedics to work as a first responder. While completing this exam helps in making you eligible to work as a first responder, it also an avenue to expand your knowledge base. To get started;

>Register as a paramedic in whichever province that interests you. 

>Register and complete an EMR training session, as directed by your provincial regulator. individuals whose ends, following their examination date, are eligible to apply for licensing exam, however they will be required to submit a proof of training. 

>Pass the licensing exam within a maximum of three trials, in one year of completing your paramedic training. 

Note that application can only be submitted approximately seven weeks to the start of the exam. 

7. Pass PCP and ACP provincial exam

In order to acquire additional certifications, Paramedics in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador also complete their Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) and Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP) Entry to Practice Exam.

Students paramedics are meant to submit a proof of successful course completion, at least two weeks before the start of  exam. 

The examination is meant to evaluate the student on diverse aspects of the field, with much focus on the students skills, and ability to provide basic emergency care.

The test goes further to ascertain if a student can provide oxygen, administer IVs, monitor patient cardiac conditions, and issue out medications.

ACP on the other hand, checks whether a paramedic have the skills and knowledge necessary to administer 20 medications.

Professionals that are ACP certified can perform intubation, intravenous therapy, place external IV lines, and other advanced responsibilities.

Successful applicants who pass these exams, must complete up to two years of full-time work experience as a PCP paramedic. 

8.  Apply to Work as a Paramedic

Of course, when you talk about how to become a Paramedic in Alberta, this is a very vital step. After you have graduated from the  paramedic college, and Have written and passed the certification exam, you are now eligible to seek for employment opportunities for paramedics.

One of the major sectors that employ paramedics are the ambulance service, however you could decide to work at a different place if you don’t wish to work within the ambulance service. 

Fire service as well need the service of a paramedic. A paramedic could be employed by a variety of people including  government and private companies.

For example, your service as a paramedic may be needed in mining companies etc, so a good knowledge of companies that could have a need for  a paramedic, could assist in your job search. 

9. Pass Pre-Employment Testing

Every job has an interview process you must follow, and pass before getting on board. interview are meant to drill potential employees, to ensure that only the best staff are  employed. 

There are several interview processes, and in addition to carrying out a personal interview, you will also need to perform a pre-employment test.

This shows your employer your level of capability with regards to doing the job.  The interview / testing process varies from employee to employee.

Some of the questions to expect include questions on  driving skills, lifting abilities, and response to trauma patient care scenarios.

Graduates of paramedics, who have taken the certificate exam, are expected to get conversant with the questions. This is because such question must have been answered at some point during the course of their education.

10. Continue to improve on yourself 

It is necessary you continue to work towards improving yourself regularly as a paramedics.

Improving yourself will ensure you remain relevant in the field, while increasing your knowledge base in recent approach towards solving problems within your field.

Improving yourself can help you land better paying jobs as well as get a pay raise. 

What do paramedics do?

Having seen how to become a paramedic in Alberta, what do you thin paramedics do? Paramedics are healthcare professionals who specialize in providing emergency health care services to sick patients in need.

Their duties often involve providing emergency care to patients who are critically ill and injured. They are regarded as first responders, meaning they are the first persons to arrive at an accident scene before other emergency professionals arrive.

Paramedics usually work in a team and transport patients down to hospitals in an ambulance. Some of their responsibilities include:

Staff ambulances:

As a staff ambulance paramedic, your responsibilities include ensuring that someone is available to respond to emergency calls.

Emergency staff ambulance work closely with Emergency Medical Technicians, to help patients.

These professionals may be warranted to drive ambulance as the case may be.

Assess patients:

Assess patients paramedics assist their patients during emergencies. They pay close attention to patients, while looking out for indications of cardiac arrest.

If an open wound is observed from a patient, the paramedic would offer pain relief. working in this field may demand that you undergo crisis intervention training.

This training is meant to teach you essentials in de escalation techniques.

Aid with childbirth:

During child birth, paramedics provide assistance to nursing mothers. In some situation, patients give birth even before arriving at the hospital, during events like this,  paramedics assist in ensuring their patients deliver successfully, even before their arrival at the hospital.

Their work at this period involves several activities, which include an entire sterilization of the environment, which ensures that child delivery is done in a clean environment.

Use specialized equipment:

Paramedics are specialist and use specialist equipment. On assessment and determination of their patients health conditions, they determine the right equipment suitable for the situation.

For instance, patients with situations of cardiac arrest, may require the use of a defibrillator, while those experiencing breathing difficulty may require oxygen. 

Maintain sanitary regulations:

Paramedics are known to follow a strict approach towards the prevention of bacteria. Some of their approaches are: ensuring a regular sterilization of work stations, equipment, ambulances.

Furthermore, they engage in cleaning up of shelving  products, and ensuring that every item is clean. 

Top Skills required to be a paramedic

You must have known how to become a paramedic in Alberta, but do you have the required skills? For you to become a successful paramedic, there are necessary skill sets you need to possess. Some of which are:

Problem-solving skills:

A paramedic should possess a strong problem solving skills, in order to determine at all times, which type of treatment suits a particular patient.

The activities of a paramedics are often not constant, as it depends on the kind of emergency call received, this makes it necessary for a paramedics to not only possess a strong problem solving ability, but also a strong decision- making skills as well.

Communication skills:

Effective communication skill is a skill set needed in every profession. As a paramedic, effective communication skills is very important and your work often involves communication with patients.

Communication skill helps you break down complex medical issues in a simple and understandable term.

Physical strength and endurance:

Paramedics require great strength in order to work effectively. This is because of the single reason that they work in a fast-paced environment, which requires strength and endurance.

Great physical strength ensures they maintain a consistent work output over a longer period of time.

Knowledge of human anatomy:

A paramedic must have knowledge of anatomy. This helps paramedics in treating patients more effectively.

This knowledge could come handy when treating patients with  physical and organ damage. An understanding of anatomy, helps you understand how each body organs or cell relate to each other, as well as affect or complement each other.

Can paramedics diagnose patients?

Depending on symptoms being displayed by the patients, paramedics provide preliminary diagnosis.

These diagnoses however, may change when the patient eventually gets transported to the hospital, where several tests will be carried out to get a more accurate diagnosis.

Paramedic diagnoses are not ignored by doctors, however they are used to carry out further tests for more detailed results.

Do paramedics always take patients to hospitals?

Typically paramedics don’t take patients to the hospital, except for a severe case that doing otherwise might pose a risk of patients losing his or her life.

They transport patients who require surgery or sedation or generally patients whose cases can’t be handled at the spot. 

How much do a paramedics earn?

In addition to the steps on how to become a paramedic in Alberta, I’m sure you want to know how much you can earn.

Typically an average paramedic’s earnings range from $27.70 per hour, depending on your place of work, ranks attained and levels of education.

However, to increase your chances of getting a better pay, you can consider acquiring more education and acquiring more skill sets. 

Conclusion

It is often a usual practice to spend most of your time standing, driving, and assisting patients as a paramedics.

Some paramedics work in airplanes and helicopters, while others choose to work for rescue services etc.

It all depends on the individual’s preference. Others choose to work with police officers, while some opt for firefighters.

Now that you have been exposed to the steps on how to become a paramedic in Alberta, it’s time to take a step towards achieving your dreams of becoming a paramedic. 

What are your thoughts about these steps on how to become a paramedic in Alberta? Please share your thoughts.

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